So, my daughter turned 8 the other weekend. Crazy, but our friends have a 9-year-old, so I sort of feel prepared for it. Y’know, their kid turns 8 and then I have a full 14 months to get used to the fact that our kid is going to be 8. Helps soften the blow.
And maybe I’m a bit biased, but she’s the sweetest eight-year-old I know. Normally, she’s a very accommodating child. She’s our first-born and she has always loved people so much. So much so that I used to wonder why they even had toys for babies, because she was never very interested in toys, other than to chew on them. She was much more entertained by people. When her brother came along, there wasn’t a moment of jealousy. It was almost bizarre: she just loved him so much and was so glad to have another person along with her all the time. Z’s definition of a brother: permanent friend.
She’s usually pretty quick to offer solutions when there are disagreements over things and many times it’s: “You can have that, Simon, I’ll just use this.” It’s not that she’s never selfish, demanding or stubborn, but her usual way is pretty accommodating.
But I don’t know who told her the rules all changed for her birthday, but this year wasn’t the first year that she turned into something of a “Birthday-Zilla,” demanding that everything had to be her way. She had to have the biggest balloon “because it’s MY birthday.” SHE was going to help make lunch because it was HER birthday. Fun. Still, all in all, it turned out to be a good day.
There’s a lot of birthday party talk for a few months before the event around our house. It starts in earnest after Christmas. I remember the birthday party being quite the commodity as a child of Z’s age. I guess it’s one of the few things that a child really has much control or say over, so whom they invite and what they do and what the cake looks like is all a pretty big deal. Z described her cake and then she drew a picture of what she wanted it to look like. I wish I could find that picture; it was great. The kids helped with the flowers. I found some great fondant punches at J. Wilton Distributors which is a great little cake supply place not too far from my work. I make my own marshmallow fondant, which is easy and yummy (if you like super sweet marshmallows) and makes a lovely soft workable fondant.
The following cupcakes were inspired by Beauty & the Beast, made for a bridal shower a few weeks ago. They were chocolate ganache filled chocolate cupcakes topped with a vanilla whipped buttercream and sugar pearls.
For my son’s first birthday, I made him this cake. S has a stuffed Ty elephant that Z affectionately named “Lumpy” (after the Heffalump from Winnie the Pooh), so while I thought at first that I would model the cake after S’s stuffed toy, it was infinitely easier to use the Heffalump from Winnie the Pooh. Here was my inspiration:
I printed this picture off the Internet and took a picture of it.
Then I traced the cake pan, and sketched the picture onto the paper. I had some help because I copied and pasted the picture from the Internet into my Paint program and drew a rectangle around the main part of the body, so I knew about how much to sketch onto the main part and how to make the leftovers work for the rest of the pieces.
The taped-on pieces are “leftovers” from the rest of the shape being cut out. I placed this image on the cake and cut the cake around it.
I decided to use the rounded top of the cake (that I had cut off to level the cake) to shape a 3D nose for Lumpy because the cake just didn’t seem challenging enough (ha ha ha). Here is a picture with all the pieces pasted together before icing. Just about every edge was raw (a cake decorator’s nightmare).
Then, I iced the cake. I used a buttercream icing flavoured with peppermint extract instead of vanilla (mint chocolate cake…mmmmm…) and coloured it light blue (like S’s stuffie instead of light purple like the Heffalump).
Not too bad. It’s hard to get a smooth finish on a “Lumpy” surface (pun intended).
After putting the main coat of icing on, it was time for finishing.
So, here he is all drawn on and outlined.
And here we are posing with the cake, before or after singing to S at the park.
That’s my sister holding S.
I found this really great free amigurumi pattern site last week that I just had to share. If you like to crochet small anthropomorphic things, this website is just the place for you. While I was intrigued by the severed fingers pattern that came up in my google reader today, I poked around a bit and found this great banana pattern. I have made some other amigurumi play food for my kids and I started to attempt a banana earlier this summer, but got caught up in trying to make the pattern curve like a banana. This pattern really relies on the way you stuff the banana to get a curve to it. But it works. And it’s a lot better than the banana I never finished.
I like how this shot of the banana looks like it’s in a police line up.